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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Gibbons family come from? What is the Irish Gibbons family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gibbons family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gibbons family history?

The surname Gibbons is derived from the name Gibb, a short form of the Norman personal name Gilbert. This name was originally derived from the name Gislebert, which is comprised of the Germanic elements "gisil," which means "hostage" or "noble youth," and "berht," which means "bright" or "famous." The name features the distinctive Irish patronymic prefix "fitz," which means "son of" in Anglo-French. This is derived from the Old French word "fils," which ultimately comes from the Latin word " filius," both of which mean "son." The Gaelic form of the surname Gibbons is Mac Giobúin.


During the Middle Ages, a single person often had their name recorded by church officials and scribes many different ways. Names were typically spelt as they sounded, which resulted in many different spelling variations. The many versions of the name Gibbons to have been recorded over the years include: Fitzgibbon, Fitzgibbons, MacGibbon, Gibbon, Gibbons, Gibben, Gibbens, Gibbin, Gibbins and many more.

First found in counties of Mayo and Limerick, where two distinct families arose shortly after Strongbow invasion of Ireland in 1172. The majority of the family hails from Mayo and were a branch of the great Burke family. They were originally known as MacGibbon Burke. They gave their name to Ballymacgibbon in County Mayo. The Limerick FitzGibbon families are descended from John Fitzgerald, whose three sons became hereditary knights of Desmond in 1333. Two branches of this family, known respectively as the knights of Glin and the knights of Kerry, remained Fitzgeralds. However, the third branch became known by the surname Fitzgibbon and was led by the White Knight, Maurice FitzGibbon, son of Sir Gilbert fitz John, eldest illegitimate son of John FitzGerald, 1st Baron Desmond. The territory of this branch lay in the southeastern corner of Limerick near County Cork.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gibbons research. Another 127 words(9 lines of text) covering the years 1357, 1419, 1496, 1530, 1543, 1569, 1569, 1552, 1608 and 1596 are included under the topic Early Gibbons History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 163 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gibbons Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Gibbons:

Gibbons Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Gibbons, who landed in New England in 1629
  • Ambrose Gibbons, who arrived in New England in 1632
  • Mathew Gibbons, aged 20, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • Oliver Gibbons, who arrived in Maryland in 1635
  • James Gibbons, who arrived in New England in 1652

Gibbons Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Guy Gibbons, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Peter Gibbons, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Easter Gibbons, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Henry Gibbons, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1767
  • Nicholas Gibbons, who landed in South Carolina in 1772

Gibbons Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Gibbons, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1800
  • William Gibbons, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • M Gibbons, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • J Gibbons, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • H Gibbons, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816


  • William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons (b. 1949), American musician, actor and car customizer, best known as the guitarist for ZZ Top, according to Rolling Stone, he's ranked 32nd on the list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" (2011)
  • Carroll Gibbons (1903-1954), American-born British bandleader
  • Cedric Gibbons (1893-1960), American art director
  • James Gibbons (1834-1921), American clergyman, Archbishop of Baltimore, (1877-1921)
  • Scott Gibbons, American composer
  • Kaye Gibbons (b. 1960), American novelist
  • Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), English composer
  • Beth Gibbons (b. 1965), British singer
  • Christopher Gibbons (1615-1676), English composer, son of Orlando
  • Edward Stanley Gibbons (1840-1913), philatelist and founder of Stanley Gibbons Ltd



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  1. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  9. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  10. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  11. ...

The Gibbons Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gibbons Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 August 2014 at 11:21.

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